The decision of the hospital planning committee at the beginning of june is only a matter of form. Because the decision of science minister wolfgang heubisch (FDP) and health minister marcel huber (CSU) has been made: as of now, no more livers will be transplanted in erlangen. Insiders had long feared that political consequences would be drawn after the manipulation of liver transplants became known, and that these consequences would now also directly affect erlangen.
How did it come to the decision? Professor ferdinand muhlbacher had been commissioned by the state government to examine all 896 liver transplants performed in bavaria since 2007. Apart from the three already known manipulations at the clinical center rechts der isar in munich, no further violations of the rules had become known. That means: clean work was done in erlangen. Which is why it is difficult to understand why the erlangen liver transplantation center is to be closed down in addition to the munich hospital on the right bank of the river isar, which has been proven to have been manipulated.
Muhlbacher himself explains it like this: "structurally, three liver transplant centers in bavaria are sufficient, both in terms of the total number of 160 liver transplants in bavaria per year and in terms of the flat population of patients. It doesn't make sense to compete for patient numbers; it's the quality of the results that counts first and foremost."
Criticism of the quality
This leads to the conclusion that there was criticism of the quality in erlangen. And indeed: in the personal part of his report, muhlbacher had compared the patient survival of the bavarian liver transplantation programs and criticized the erlangen results. Heinrich iro, medical director of the university hospital erlangen, reacted yesterday. "We are very disappointed with mr. Muhlbacher's vote and do not consider it objective" dear iro in a press release know. The committee's work, as well as the audit by the german medical association in january 2013, showed that no relevant violations of rules had occurred in erlangen and that, in addition, excellent structures existed.
With regard to the results, the different starting conditions of the patients had not been taken into account. In other words, erlangen has operated on many patients at an advanced stage of the disease – with all the associated risks. If this component was taken out of the equation, the results in erlangen were no worse than elsewhere, he said.
And how does it continue now? Johannes eissing, spokesman for the erlanger unikliniken: "we can't say anything about that at this point in time." On the political side, it was announced that the liver therapy center would be maintained. The erlanger lovers know yesterday, they are now planning closer cooperation with the surgical clinic of the LMU munich.
A closer cooperation with wurzburg was not imaginable because of the possibilities there. In any case, the heart, kidney and pancreas transplantation programs in erlangen continued, it was said.